More than 25 years ago, Mac owners were introduced to Shadowgate — a medieval fantasy quest that overcame its black-and-white limitations to become one of the most immersive and enjoyable graphic-text adventures of its time. On August 21, Shadowgate is coming back, so we're comparing the classic version of the game to its modern counterpart, accompanied by commentary from one of its co-creators.
The Shivah opens with a question, simultaneously straightforward and cosmic: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Lead writer and designer Dave Gilbert attempts to answer it with fuzzy pixel art, a jazz soundtrack, and the restrained and cynical story of Rabbi Russell Stone, who takes it upon himself to investigate the murder of a Jewish businessman. Gilbert is well versed in noir-tinged mysteries, but The Shivah is understated and realistically grounded when compared to Wadjet Eye’s science fiction games (like the great Gemini Rue). The Shivah dispenses with many of the adventure genre’s more cumbersome traditions, too, leaving room for investigation to drive the plot forward instead of awkward, arbitrary puzzles.